the warm /&/ the cold book (2018)

the warm /&/ the cold – poems & art 2018

“Testimony forged into art…” Ian McMillan

THE WARM /&/ THE COLD is an illustrated poetry book by many authors. The lives of people affected by homelessness, older people (many with dementia) and young offenders, are expressed as poetry and artworks – all adorned with their life stories.

arthur+martha worked for several years with diverse communities in North West England to develop this collection: an alternative history of British life, insider stories that find nothing new in austerity, but have plenty of survival tips.

Artist Lois Blackburn: “Sometimes you’ve just got to pin your heart on your sleeve and say who you really are. We’ve been privileged to share these moments with the people who’ve contributed. On some days this project has been heartbreaking, but many times it has also been a joy.”

Embroidered into quilts, written onto tourist postcards, made into tattoo designs, and ceramics designs, and printed as posters, these poetic testimonies stretch outside the usual arena of literature.

Poet Philip Davenport: “Some of the most beautiful things people ever say float away into the air and are lost. We work together to write them down, keeping in the spirit of that moment. We’re following the ancient tradition of honouring people’s lives.” 

This lavishly-illustrated poetry book was funded by the National Association for Literary Development and gathers hundreds of the collaborators within its pages. It includes a Foreword by Ian McMillan and Afterword by Jerome Rothenberg; the project was further helped by poets Stephen Emmerson, Steve Giasson, Rebecca Guest, copland smith and Scott Thurston, who contributed valuable editing and research suggestions. The book was launched at Manchester Central Library in 2018, as part of Manchester History Festival Celebrations Day.


when she grows, she goes
your daughter 
is never your own
given away in a wedding song 

they walk away with the lamp
meeting everyone
mother passes the light 
to mother-in-law 

when she grows she goes
a daughter is never yours
you'll give her away
raised for someone else

“Have brightness in your new house” 
a sad song at the end of the wedding 
when your girl says 

there's a song that’s
a reminder:
sasreye jata jojo papan na bhinjay, 
dikari to parki thapan kahevay

a lukshima is born, 
luck will look after us
but she was never ours from the start.

Hindu Temple, Oldham, October 2013

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s